How to Build a 6 or 7-Figure Business in Less Than a Million Hours a Week: The Have a Life Guide to Getting Sh*t Done
I got into this whole online game to be a writer, make a difference, maybe even change the world. And I’d like to think that in my own way, I’ve done that. In my first online business I became known for helping women to beat emotional eating and get the body they want without having to pay a crazy price and now I get to help driven, creative and fast-thinking women make awesome money online, doing what they love. Aside from my own clients, mastermind group and community, I also reach a broader audience of potentially millions through my Amazon books and blogs and social media.
But most of the time, nobody cares two hoots about the intricacies of all of that or even any of that. I guess I get a fair few questions about how I launch so much stuff so successfully, but that really just ties straight back in to the #1 thing I do get asked –
How on earth do you get it all done?!
It’s no secret that I believe in working your BUTT off to get sh*t done – I follow a ‘sprint, rest, sprint’ approach to work and I personally feel everyone should! I’ve found that going ‘balls to the walls’ is absolutely the best way to be a content machine, get recognised as an expert, take your industry by storm, and make a million dollars!
But how to do all of that without sacrificing EVERYTHING else?
One of my new clients, who I spoke with yesterday, was clearly anxious in telling me that she could really only spare 8-10 hours a week at the moment to build her online business. Not only was she genuinely worried that she’s not going to be able to achieve any real success with that sort of input, but she was actually concerned I might not want to work with her as a client because she doesn’t have what it takes!
To the contrary … I love a good challenge and more importantly I know it is POSSIBLE to create success in a limited time-frame! In fact, in some ways I believe the less time you have the more wisely and effectively you can use it, so long as you know how. But more on that in a mo’.
Another client, from my Rich Chick Mastermind, commented recently when I asked where people most needed support –
“Being honest, I don’t know if I’ve yet fully accepted the possibility that I could have success without working 80 hour weeks. Intellectually I know it’s possible because I see evidence – you, Leonie, Denise, Tim Ferriss etc etc – but will that ever happen to me? Perhaps underneath it all I feel I’m not worthy. I’d love to let go of that thinking, and believe me I’m trying …”
Now aside from how distracted and excited I was at being grouped into a ‘like with like’ sentence with Tim Ferriss (I hope you’re listening Tim – surely this means we should at least do coffee?!) – I had one overriding thought when I read this –
I get it.
I totally totally hear you, and I absolutely know what it’s like to wonder if you’ll a) ever achieve ‘real’ success, whatever that may look like for you, and b) if you’ll ever achieve it without completely giving up your life and selling your very soul.
I GET what it feels like to have so many ideas, so much you want to do, so many things you know you could be doing so successfully if only you had the god-damn time! Been there, done that, got about a hundred t-shirts to prove it. In fact, the only reason I am where I am now – working an average of maybe 25 hours a week and running a multiple 6-figure biz from the beach is because I had the discipline and long-sightedness to keep going through those times when I was spread so thin I nearly disappeared.
Because I believed in the big-picture, the long-term if you will.
Because I believed it was not only my right but my destiny to live a life of freedom and choice as a wildly successful entrepreneur and author, and if I didn’t always have much time to make it happen well then it was going to just have to happen with the time I did have.
Because I believed that if I just kept on keeping on, one foot in front of the other, even if it was sometimes just 10 minutes at a time, my life would change and open up and eventually I would be in a place where I had not only enough time, but enough money, confidence, know-how and support for everything I needed and desired.
And now? Yeah – I do mostly have all of that. Life still throws up its challenges and tests, as it will always do. And my business is and never will be ‘done’. I’m a creator at heart and creators gotta keep on creating, often leaving a wake of mess in their path. But overall? Life is better than good, it’s freaking awesome.
But the getting here part?
Hell yes, it was tough. And I won’t lie – I DID put in insane hours for many weeks, months, even years. Or at least I thought I did, because the truth is that when I look back it went something like this –
2007, started online with a free WordPress blog. Spent maybe 1-3 hours a week writing blog posts and a client newsletter for my personal training clients. Online earnings: zero.
2008, decided to ‘go pro’ and launch a real blog. Spent approximately 15 hours a week for 6 months building the website and a library of blog posts as well as planning out an official launch for my blog, and learning about all things blogging. Online earnings: zero, although my blog did help me get more in person clients.
August 2008, launched my first ‘real’ blog, Body Incredible, and maintained/grew it with an input of about 10-15 hours a week, primarily writing blog posts and answering the occasional email or comment, also did some guest posting and started writing my first ebook, which I probably spent no more than 5 hours a week on with the exception of a couple of 30-hour straight sessions on the weekend (literally did this twice, and those sessions were pretty much why the book got completed in 2 weeks after I’d already been working on it for the rather impressive time-frame of 26 months – mostly during which I did NOT work on it as the whole thing overwhelmed me). Also did Yaro Starak’s Blogging Mastermind program, an online course. Online earnings: zero.
2009, kept up decent maintenance of Body Incredible during pregnancy, continued on with my blogging and guest posting and got it into my head that I could make a million dollars if only I found the right ebook topic that EVERYONE would want to buy. Spent about 5-10 hours a week blogging etc, and equivalent researching ways to make a million dollars with an ebook. Daughter was born November 2009, maintained 2 blog posts a week through that time-frame, and went back to client work a few hours a week a couple months later. Also attended a couple conferences through the year about online biz and blogging. Online earnings: approximately 2k from my ebook which I had finally gone live with. Note I was very very excited to have started making money online – my first online earnings day of just over $400 is one I still remember as amongst the best in my life! Did not, however, make a million dollars with an ebook. (And still haven’t).
2010, we started planning a 6-week overseas trip to the US and Canada, during which we would elope in Vegas (and we did, without telling a soul!), and I realised it would be freaking awesome to have some money while traveling so I decided to gear things up (my ebook was making me a couple hundred a month) and launch an ecourse. My ‘Body Incredible Health Telecoaching Program’ ran for 12 weeks and involved me making a 45-minute group call each week and providing a worksheet. It ran right through the time of our trip and I made a little over $500 a week (or call) during that time – my first big break! My average time input p/week in 2010 was 10-15 hours. Online earnings: approximately 10k from ecourse and ebook.
2011, decided to ‘niche down’ from Body Incredible and came up with the idea for Woman Incredible – fat loss, nutrition and motivation for driven women. I spent about an hour each morning before going to work at the gym putting together targeted blog posts and the website, ready to launch in March of that year. And maybe an hour or two here and there through the rest of the week. Again about 10-15 hours a week at first, however once this site launched and the response was SO fantastic, my business brain started to really ‘click’ as to just what was possible online. I planned a ’round Australia’ tour of events and started working on a monster of a project with a 12-month membership program, which I launched with a 40k result (spread over 12 months) in October of that year. From March/April 2011 for the rest of the year I put as much as 40 hours a week in online, while also being a Mum of course and doing 10-15 hours a week of personal training. Online earnings: 25-30k from ebook, full day events round the country and initial few months payments for my new VIP membership program.
2012, things were going great! The year started with a bang with my ‘off the cuff’ eating plan resulting in 5k in sales in 3 days. This was the first time I REALLY got it, the whole ‘make money online’ thing. Before that it had really been about the writing for me, and I guess I thought the main benefit was it would increase my offline income. I decided it was time to really go for the life I wanted, and quit my 13-year biz as a PT on 2 weeks notice, instead doing the occasional face to face nutrition consult while focusing my main energy and time online. The success of my eating plan put my mind into overdrive, and this coupled with my leap of faith leaving PT meant that by the end of 2012 I’d launched so much high-value stuff for my Woman Incredible audience that I had literally gone from making a few k a month at the start of the year to now making over 30k per month in the last few months of the year. Total online earnings for the year: approx. 200k from numerous ebooks, live events, my online Look Great Naked Bikini Body Bootcamp, VIP membership program and various other small ventures.
Enough that I decided to take the next leap of faith, and moved into early 2013 with only a few more face to face sessions left before I’d go 100% online. Spent about 30-40 hours a week online, easily doable now that I’d quit PT. Most of this was done from 5-7am before my daughter woke, and then in her daytime nap-times.
2013, I realised I wanted to move more into the stuff I REALLY wanted to teach and talk about, namely working with other driven, creative, fast-thinking entrepreneurs to help them create their dream business and life just as I was. I relaunched my business at www.katloterzo.com, with – for the first time in 6 years! – a professionally designed and paid for site as well as a revamp for Woman Incredible. I’d bootstrapped my way to my 30k p/month income all on DIY until this point. I started running events for other health professionals and then other entrepreneurs in general on how to make money online, and in June launched my Fearless Wealthy Woman Business Mastermind. I’ve been mentoring other women in business unofficially for over a decade (as well as being one of the official biz trainer to the trainers for all of Fitness First Australia in the mid 2000’s) but this was the first time I made it real and public. My business was continuing to grow and my highest month in 2013 was 72k, so you’d think I was working way more than ever and building year by year, but what I haven’t mentioned is I was pregnant from the start of 2013 until Sept 21, and from June to September I spent much time hospitalised (this link documents the first short stint) with an extremely scary and complicated pregnancy, culminating in being told in July that a) I had to miss my sister’s wedding in Thailand and b) I had a very rare condition which might mean I die during childbirth. And that if I didn’t die I’d definitely have to have a hysterectomy, and possible bladder removal.
The short version of that story is none of that awful stuff happened and our beautiful and healthy son was born 8 days late after months-long fears of a premature birth never mind all that other stuff. Soooo … yes, I did keep working the whole time but I’d say my average input per week for 2013 was 20 hours, some of it from hospital, some in the evenings, MUCH skipped because I couldn’t get my exhausted pregnant butt out of bed at 5am like I had been doing so well for years. Total gross income for 2013: just under 400k.
2014, well November 2013, on 5 weeks notice with the idea sparked just after Nathan was born we put all of our possessions into storage in Melbourne and moved to the Gold Coast to a rockstar apartment on the beach, and in June this year we leave for a year or two (who knows!) of round the world travel, truly living the laptop lifestyle as I’ve long dreamed! Current weekly time input, 25-30 hours. 2014 PREDICTED income: 600k+ … but I won’t say no to having my first million dollar year!
So. That’s a long review, but I want to show you exactly what it’s taken for ME to get to where I am. As you can see –
- I never worked 80 hours a week, or even 60.
- My average work week over that entire time frame, if you broke down the whole 7 year period, is 15-20 hours.
- Once I started making money and then kept on keeping on even when it wasn’t rolling in yet, it really didn’t take long before things exploded.
- Once they exploded, and I kept on keeping on, even when life got CRAZY at times, my income has approximately doubled each year.
- I kept growing my business and income through kids (surely one of the greatest motivations to make money online?!), general life, travel, a partner who spent the first 3 years frustrated that I was always online (and who I now happily and possibly too frequently say I told you so to!) and even whilst living in hospital last year. In fact I would say my business is the only thing that stopped me melting down during this time.
So how does all of this apply to you … or, more relevantly –
How Can YOU Build a 6 or 7-Figure Business in Less Than a Million Hours a Week: The Have a Life Guide to Getting Sh*t Done?
I’ve thought about this long and hard, partly because I myself am always looking for ways to ‘hack’ success and become more effective, not so much by ‘working less’ but more so by finding that 20% within the 20% within the 20% that really WORKS. The other reason I’ve thought about it so deeply is, like I said, it’s far and away the most common thing I am asked!
My clients and followers are busy women, just like you, sometimes still with a corporate job, often with kids or kids on the horizon, often with partners who don’t get it and are wondering when this so-called business is going to take off, always with other stuff going on in their life and whilst they are absolutely 100% committed to creating their dream business and life, they really don’t want to have to give up so much else of what matters to them to achieve that if the only way to do it is by working round the clock and surviving on caffeine and a never-say-die determination.
They believe in success, in creating their dream business and life, in having it all. But they’re also tired of feeling like it might cost more than what they want to give, what they HAVE to give.
I want to show you that you CAN build and maintain a 6 and even 7-figure business in less than a million hours a week, even in less than 80 or 40 or 20 hours a week.
You really can have your cake, and eat it too – but you have to understand the following points.
1. Make No Mistake About It – When You Work You WORK!
I truly believe that getting a CRAP load of work done, being a content machine, dominating your industry and basically just making sh*t happen is a lot easier than what most people think.
Here’s the reality: the vast majority of people operate day in and day out in an extremely sub-standard way. Forgot about operating at half-mast, I’d be surprised if the average person does even 10% of what they’re capable of. Not because they are lazy, but just because they allow themselves to be caught up and distracted by busy-work. A constant sense of urgency and action without anything truly transformative happening. Their days are filled with meetings, and communication, and admin, and any ‘big’ projects or tasks or creations are procrastinated on because they seem to overwhelming and because also they never truly feel URGENT.
So people put off repeatedly the tasks that would help them to achieve their dreams, with the ultimate outcome being they live an entire life of being busy but never really getting much done. And because this is the ‘norm’, it becomes second nature to BELIEVE that getting really big and cool stuff done is next to impossible.
Do you see what I’m saying? If you were surrounded all of the time by freakishly fit people, you’d start to see THAT as normal and I bet your own fitness would change without you even overly focusing on it. It’s the same in business. If you feel constantly busy, under the pump and wonder why you’re never completing the transformative stuff, it’s not because you don’t have time or you can’t. It’s simply because you’re too busy faffing around with other stuff, and probably spending a lot of time trying to work out what you should be doing.
There’s a simple solution: when you work, WORK. Get straight into it, knuckle down, and move forward. For God’s sakes get off email and stop over-analysing your to-do list. Do the stuff that matters. Like –
2. Focus On What Grows Your Biz and Income
There are 2 things you can be doing in your business right now – something that grows your subscriber lists and/or makes you money, and something that doesn’t. Do the first at the expense of the second ALWAYS. A great example of how I apply this daily is that I never ever complete content or tasks that are due for my clients or anybody else until I’ve first done the days money-making and business-building tasks. I know that I will get the stuff for my clients done because they have paid for it and I’m not going to default on my own program or service content! I know that no matter how tired and short on time I am, if I leave that stuff till last I will find a way to get it done, and I’ll do it well because that’s who I am. But if I leave the money-makin’ stuff till last? It won’t happen. I’ll run out of time, energy, whatever.
3. Know Your Money-Making Tasks!
It’s pretty hard to do your money-making tasks if you don’t know what they are. So tell me – do you have a plan for how your business will make money over the next week, month, quarter? Do you know exactly what you need to do this week, this day, this hour, in order to further your bottom line?
If not, set aside your next hour of work and do this right away. Create a simple product/program launch plan, with tight deadlines and a commitment to JUST DOING IT even if you don’t feel ready and even if you don’t know where to start. Then every Monday, write down your money-making tasks for the week. Every day, check in on the related tasks for the day. And then do them FIRST. I’ve said this before in a different way, when I’ve talked about spending the first hour of each work day creating – to clarify, make sure it’s creating stuff that’s going to make you money! Then spend the next hour on the marketing and sales processes that go with it – these too are money making tasks, obviously just creating it is not enough!
4. Seek Inspiration Often – But Not Too Often In Your Work Time
I’d say that for any time input I’ve stated in this blog I have probably always spent close to the same again reading and researching inspiring case studies and ideas. Currently I do this while breastfeeding. In the past, I’ve done it pretty much anywhere and everyone, rather than, say, watching TV, reading the newspaper or watching it, or talking very much. It’s crucial to actively seek out inspiration to fuel your mind and soul and keep you focused on what’s possible. Just be careful not to pretend you are working when you do this. Getting inspired and doing something that makes money are different items.
5. Take Immediate Action on All New Projects – Even 5 Minutes Before You Log Off
If you have an idea you know you’re going to act on, act on it this very day. Get your other important stuff for the day done, and then do an extra 5, 10, 60 minutes or whatever you can and just go hell for leather drafting out this new idea. We both know that ideas put on the shelf end up staying there – one way to move your business ever-forward is to take immediate action and save yourself the trouble of having things hang over you for days, weeks, and months, gathering metaphorical dust and taking up important mental space.
I also recommend that if it’s a launch based idea you set a date NOW for when it will go live – and keep it to within 2 weeks. Yep, even if it’s an entire membership program. Why take 6 months to do something that if you really wanted to you could do in 2 weeks? Of course if you prefer to take the slowly, gently approach that’s your choice – but know that it will not only mean things get done later it will definitely also mean they end up taking longer.
A task expands to the time allotted to it … so don’t give it room to breathe. Get it done today!
6. Suck It Up, Sweetheart
Don’t be that women spending an hour, two hours a day watching trash TV, reading gossip mags, sitting around complaining about life and the state of the world unless you are doing that stuff ’cause you really enjoy it and ’cause it is in ADDITION to doing what you need to do in your business.
If you really want this, then suck it up and take action consistently in fairly small blocks of time – like 1-3 hours – so that every day you move forward. Often this will mean doing so in place of what you really feel like doing and it may also mean doing so in place of so-called must-do activities like tidying the house or running errands. [pq] No, you don’t have to spend hours and hours and hours each day to create business success, but you really do have to do SOMETHING each day.[/pq] If you put in that regular time, you won’t ever find yourself in a position where it seems as though there is an endless road ahead of you to succeed. You’ll be traveling the road every day.
7. Do The Extra Hour, Even (Especially!) If You Really Don’t Want To
Again, it’s not about 12 hour days. But often it is about that extra hour. Imagine if you did an extra hour every evening. One hour – it goes in a flash! 5 hours a week, 250 ish hours a year. I bet you could write a book in that time? Create a couple of programs? Become PROFITABLE and be able to afford to cut out some of the stuff you’re doing in other hours in your day … yes?
8. Boundaries, Baby – You Gotta Have Them!
Of course for all of this to work you must ensure you don’t get carried away and keep on doing ‘just one more hour’. I make every Sunday 100% tech-free – my family may have to put up with my mind being on work often during the week but they know that on Sundays I am NEVER online. I have other boundary times during the week as well. When working, work. When not working – especially with family, but also in your own time like when at the gym or just out and about – don’t work! Have proper ‘stop’ times and you won’t resent your work or feel that it’s all you do.
9. Be Accountable – Get Yourself a Sisterhood!
You just cannot go it alone with this stuff! In the first 3 years of my online business I really did feel as though it was me and the world – there weren’t many other people doing this whole online thang; at least not people who I knew. And the idea of coaching or masterminds didn’t really seem to be a thing yet either.
To be frank, I’m quite surprised looking back that I made it without the support I desperately would have loved. I guess my dream has always been that big, but still – now that I have DAILY support from my “Lady Mafia” (as one of my friends puts it) in the 6 & 7 figure women’s circle I’m in, I know that I never have a question unanswered, always have somewhere I can let loose or rant, am constantly learning and constantly uplifted and supported. EVERY woman in business needs a mastermind.
It’s pretty damn simple if you think about it – if you want to make a ton of money and grow your biz fast so that you can quit the normal life, you better be putting stuff out there for sale. This is kind of going full circle back to points 1-3, but it bears saying in another way.
RUTHLESSLY limit time on emails, social media, admin, errands, organisation, overt planning and ANYTHING THAT IS NOT IN FACT MAKING YOU MONEY. You’re good at what you do, yeah? You know how to help people? So help them for God’s sakes! Give them something to work with. Always. Be. Launching.
11. Practice Makes Perfect
The truth is that everything I’ve laid out for you truly is the ‘magic’ solution you need to build and maintain a multiple 6-figure biz in less than 30, probably less than 20 and if you really have to than even less than 10 hours a week. So long as you stick with it.
But I’ll be honest – it means you have to get real good at facing those inner demons. At pushing through resistance. At doing what you gotta do and hitting the ground running again and again and again, never mind picking yourself straight back up when things don’t work the way you hoped, or when you’re tired, or overwhelmed, or whatever.
You have to be like The Terminator. You don’t look to the side. You don’t look back. You don’t stop. You Just. Keep. Going.
But yes – it takes practice to be able to work this way. You need to train for it. You wouldn’t expect to lift the heaviest weight in the gym without some training, so treat high-intensity working the same way. Build up those muscles of determination, of stress management, of doggedness.
Start your training today.
12. Act First, Think Later
Much of what you don’t do that you very well COULD have done is a result of over-thinking. Analysing. Trying to figure it all out. If you’re not careful, all of that thinking could land you in trouble. BIG trouble. Specifically, the kind of trouble that comes about from from not creating stuff for your business!
Stop thinking so much. Listen to your gut. DO. And think about it later if you must; improve and tweak then but definitely not FIRST.
15. It Takes Less Than You Think – Remind Yourself of This Constantly and Then DO Something!
Once again, I’m coming full circle. I said this earlier on. But seriously – you gotta get this into your head. It’s really a whole lot LESS tough than you think to create a business that supports you financially in a big-way but that also supports your lifestyle and you having a life.
Yes, it takes planning.
Yes, it takes the ability to prioritise well and then FOLLOW your priority list.
Yes, it takes saying no to a whole lotta the wrong stuff.
Yes, it takes an at-times Terminator like approach to moving through your work day.
But yes, it absolutely is possible for you to create a multiple 6-figure (or more!) business in fewer than a million hours a week. Or even 40 😉
Get out there and start doing the stuff that matters gorgeous. One foot in front of the other. One day after the next. I promise you that you’ll get there. Eyes forward. Shoulders back. Inhale breath. And GO!
Don’t forget –
Life is Now. Press Play.